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say it is because the truth is the truth and, the truth is that the corner bookstore has been an incredible friend to this class over i have to count how many years i think the first event was done in january of 1998, so it's been 15 years, and dozens of books that have come out into the world to meet the readers and the buyers at the corner bookstore and no writer could ask for a better set of friends than lenni and a4a and nick and everyone who is here to carry the new books coming out so carefully and advocate so eloquently for them. so, it is wonderful as always to be back. and the continuity of the class is here. we have several students out here listening to one of the students from the class of 1999.
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every book has its own story in every writer has their own journey to publication. and in dahl's case, the book is monument to both the amazing history of the little red schoolhouse which i will leave dina to talk about but also her amazing persistence which i will tell you something about. i've known dina a little bit shy about the fact the book is dated 2013 and her diploma is dated 1999. i don't think that is anything at all for an explanation, it actually deserves praise because one thing i always say to my students is that there is no award for the fastest buck. [laughter] i mean it. there is only an award for the best book and they took 20 years to write a bright shining lie and then 18 years to write carry
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me home. the only thing that matters is the quality and the grit of the author seeing what it takes to get two nights like this and dina is a testament to get to be leaving in the book in the importance of the subject, public affairs, a great testament to a publisher that kept faith with an author gindin these days a lot of publishers probably would not have and makes it a special, special cause for celebration here tonight. so, the famous literary term i will turn this over to dina hampton triet [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. i am so excited to be here tonight to talk to you about the lives of three extraordinary
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people in this book, tom ha'aretz, elliott abrams and angela davis and the no less extraordinary school but they found themselves in somewhat against the odds considering their different backgrounds in the early 1960's. the founder of the school as many of you know, as many of you have connections with the school with elizabeth warren she was born in 1880 in brooklyn to a well-to-do family after attending smith college she moved to greenwich village in 1903 and found herself among a group of artists and radicals and social reformers of every stripe that were at the first blooming of the greenwich village's bohemian flooring. she started as a freelance reporter and then the studies as a psychologist and social
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worker, and inspired by john, she and her partner ran a series of mobile classrooms and schools within the public education system based on the progressive theories of john dewey. the compatriots' railed against the memorization and that children should read and write and do sums on their own timetable and that was even harmful to force them to do it faster. she believed their emotional development was as important as their intellectual development and she said that most important thing that a school could do is get children into the habit of being happy. most importantly, she believed come and her fellow progressive educators believed that a school must instill in children's minds the ability to think
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independently so that they could participate fully in the american democracy. in 1932, he elizabeth irwin's class's or at p.s. 41 which most of you probably know is on west 11th street, and it still is in the village. the city at that point withdrew its funding from the experiment and the parents were so upset that their children wouldn't be able to take class with elizabeth warren that they banded together and something that's famous at a parent's ice cream parlor they got together the money or started to get together the money to start their own school so in september of 1932, little red school house opened and ten years later in 1942 shortly before elizabeth irwin's untimely death elizabeth
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high school opened on charles street a few blocks south of will read in what would decades become soho kissell in the 1950's the parent body of elizabeth made up a roll call of the cultural and artistic society of the day, playwright arthur miller was a screenplay writer and feel safe in many of their well-known screenplays was apparent there as with a who wrote many films. also was apparent with his life he had adopted the children of julius and ethel rosenberg who were executed for espionage.
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by the we also under the name louis ellen the route the strong delete qassam strange fruit that billie holiday wrote so it was a group of talent there to be a so, the parents of tom horowitz who is one of my protagonists, his parents were among that group. leo was a documentarian. of a sort of radical strike, and his mother was a principal in the dance group. so i will read you a little bit about him. >> as a young man, she looked at his parents' wild ride through the depression affinity with his liquid brown eyes and full lips and his brown hair brushed into submission and parted on the
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side, the stubborn to youngster who like his father couldn't bear to concede the point. in some ways he was a typical child in the 50's. he owned a leather jacket with fringe and the daniel boone had to the tail around the back said his mother. and he had the biggest collection of toy guns of every sort. when i spoke to my analyst about it, he said let him have them. he won't want to have any more of them when he grows up. but the death of the rosenbergs was an ongoing on spoken terror that predated his childhood. one day he summoned the courage to approach the subject with his father. could they get you and mom, he asked. no, we are artists. although his response wasn't particularly on point, he was somewhat comforted by this response. but tom's year for his parents didn't keep him from participating in political causes. he and his classmates spent many
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saturdays picketing the protesting the five and dime segregated lunch counter policies in the southern united states. ticketing woolworth was an unofficial requirement class at 62. [laughter] elliott abrams, another protagonist in my local salles so. his mother was a schoolteacher, and his father was an immigration lawyer and they were middle-of-the-road democrats, new dealers come and his mother enrolled eliot in the school in ninth grade having heard of the school's reputation. most american high schools in the early 60's the abram family politics would have put eliot to the left of his classmates.
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elisabeth irwin, the equivalent of the republican -- [laughter] culturally, eliot was also out of step. like most of his classmates, she was jewish but unlike most of his classmates he either came from secular families are the product of mixed marriages his family was observant and kept a kosher home. eliot began to react to what he preserved the orthodoxy of the school. browsing the magazine rack in the library, he saw progress of publications like the nation. why come he asked the library in could the school not achieve some balance in the publication in displayed? why not stop a magazine like the "national review." the culture is dominated by right-wing politics. we do not need to get more of it in our school. in eliot's view, the history
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teacher personify the schools tilted politics. he was a vigorous and a dedicated teacher but his analyses of the historical movement seemed absurd to him. why do the countries acquire colonies? according to him because countries needed economic markets. who in the helen listened of first colony was in the position to buy anything, she wondered incredulously. he voted for lyndon johnson in the presidential election the first time so the whispers went that he ever cast such a mainstream coach for fear that a victory -- for the conservative republican barry goldwater would bring fascism to america. in eliot's opinion that was a bit overblown. increasingly appalled by the school's ideological slant, eliot began to vocalize his own political view to the he debated with his classmates in the basement cafeteria his chief
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opponent to the component was paul horowitz. his equal and intellectual in love of the good fight to the impromptu discussions often ended in shouting matches between the two. a hot topic in the lunchroom debate was cuba and the leader fidel castro who had come to power in 1959. most students saw castro as a romantic revolutionary bringing economic and social justice to his people. elite viewed him as another standard issue communist dictator. angela davis, mr. protagonist, was in the class of 1961. the class included robert deniro for a time. his parents were artists that lived in the village, and kathy that later became involved in the 1981 brinks robbery in which a guard and two policemen were killed and served many years in prison for that.
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angela grew up in birmingham alabama at the height of jim crow, and to escape from the wretched segregated school system, she entered on her junior year in a scholarship in the service committee and i will just read a short passage about her. when she entered the school although angela braced herself for outright hostility, she hadn't foreseen her posts tendency to be solicitous of the few black acquaintances she wrote that in the biography. she didn't question the desire to eliminate racism and she knew that bringing her to the school was an earnest action towards the end that from day to day she questioned the motives behind the overtures extend it to her or invitations to visit her classmates home prompted by the genuine friendship or feelings of obligation, guilt or attempt
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to display the largesse river there were times she would arrive at the apartment to discover a black retainer in the family's employee and the family would invariably call for a housekeeper but to angela the was merely semantics. the housekeeper she thought was in fact assurgent and that made her uncomfortable. between the communities bafflement how to deal with the newcomer and angeles shyness and the stance towards her host there was a limited opportunity for meaningful connections and she felt a constant sense of uneasiness. she wasn't alone. such feelings of not belonging and never knowing where one stood was shared by the handful of her fellow african-american schoolmates. so in the but i follow these three people through their unbelievably event pact and dramatic lives. tom went to columbia where he played a part in the occupation of the school in the spring of
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1968. he then moved to california where he was an activist and an organizer among other things in the jihadi movement which i think is an underreported phenomenon in the vietnam protest where people supported it organized the soldiers growing dissent towards the war and centered around the coffeehouses which were places where the soldiers could meet and share their concerns and growing protests. the coffeehouses were first found that by fred gardner by the way who was the class of 1959. he returned to new york city in the 1970's and became a successful cinematographer and still lives often with films with social content. one of the first was harlan county usa. elliott went to harvard and after four years of elisabeth
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irwin he thought he could find more like-minded associates, which he did and they would go on to become the core of the neoconservative switch in the 80's would fight against a lot of the advancement of the counterculture also have made. in the student occupation of harvard which was in the spring of 1969 a year after columbia, those friends formed the committee to keep harvard open and to the snake eliot talks about that about the high point of the university career. it's important that he stay at democrat until he worked for ronald reagan's election when he
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got to the administration then he became a republican. and in the administration he became embroiled in the contra scandal. the attended brandeis and another east coast mostly white school which didn't help the feelings of alienation. she joined the communist party usa and rose to national prominence when she went head-to-head with governor ronald reagan in california when the border regions fired her from her position ask professor for her membership in the communist party. she was then very soon after. back in the 70's was remarkable she was charged with murder and kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with an attempt to jailbreak in the marlene county courthouse in the northern california. she went underground to avoid
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capture and she was captured and spent 18 months in prison before her trial which was covered the world over. so i will just feed you one more piece from that. this is when she gets captured. entering the motel in the late afternoon, angela noted in passing a dark suit and men in the lobby. she took down the now familiar feeling of panic that spread through her. she was probably imagining things, she told herself. the stress of life as a fugitive had taken its toll and every white man in a suit seemed to her like an fbi agent ready to pounce. resolutely she made her way across the lobby into the elevator. at sitting on the seventh floor she spotted a man peering out of one of the doors in the hallway. another man entered the elevator with her and followed her around. suddenly come agents burst out
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of every room on the floor and converged on hirsh jogging arthu angela davis, are you angela davis? one of them pulled a gun. moments before she realized her capture was eminent, an unexpected unexpected sense of koln. as she pictured the corpse on the hallway carpeting they brought her to the fbi headquarters on east 69th street where she was kept for several hours before driven downtown to the house of detention on sixth avenue and greenwich avenue. esf ten story building the jefferson library stands there now that loom over the town houses and the tenants of the village disoriented as she was coming angeles still recognized it. she had walked by countless times on her way as a teenager and vividly recalled the female inmates as they brought down courses from the jail.
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still handcuffed, angela was placed on a bench in the waiting room. as her eyes adjusted to the light she saw her image on the paper's lawyer under the words wanted by the fbi pity if that were not enough, directly next to it was a poster picturing her former classmate. >> i graduated from the late 1970's. my history teacher is here. but i didn't have -- [inaudible] [laughter] i didn't have a history of the sense of the school at that point and was only when i returned years later as an alumni director that i began to appreciate the history of the school. my fascination with the 1960's
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graduates began when i organized and he sent for their reunion weekend for the class of '61. the first thing they did is to gather in grand central station and the board a train to visit kathy boudin and was then that i realized this was a unique group of people. so that's about all. i want to thank you all for coming. i want to thank the corner bookstore for being such wonderful hosts and sam for taking time out of his very busy week to come and introduce me in public affairs for being so wonderful and my editor lisa is here. if you have any questions i would love to take them. thank you. and i am asked to please wait until the gentleman with a microphone comes to you.
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thank you. [applause] any questions? >> when you spoke with these people after the school what were their feelings? did they see the school was being formative and their lives or do you think that they would have become who they were regardless of where they went to school? >> i think many of the schools had come from families who were very progressive and left oriented and so there was already a predilection but i know that many of them have told me that the school really shaped their lives and was, you know,
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really -- the track that back. i mean, victor talks about his class's he was in the class of 50. lots of people see that as a real market their lives and the people who graduated like elliot that reacted against it and wrote the book that really sort of brought to light the fact of the parents culpability they've reacted a very much against it. they were in many cases very bitter about. >> i find that totally confusing actually that it is such an amazing the space society that people were allowed to express themselves so freely and to have a background in that way.
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can you elucidate? >> one of the things elliott found comegys is one of the things he found is that he loved being in the opposition. he loved being a counterpuncher. i don't know that he really believes very strongly what he believes, but i think that somehow the mesh of his character came into focus and was reinforced into harvard. i think it's also important to know to but he isn't punished or penalized for his views and he
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made some friends there became better about him when he became a republican. so i think they moved away from him more than the other way around. >> that was for the school to allow about freedom. >> i am just curious do they talk about smith at all because he is the one that made this environment possible. >> smith was the director of the whole school, right. for many years he took over after elizabeth irwin died. >> right. [inaudible] a couple years after she died. he was asked if he had communist teachers and he told them it was none of their business. >> that's right. and he was more than i think being a sort of old left sort of
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new york fellow, she was a new england yankee sort of the high. not necessarily liberal, a more independent yankee. they don't talk about him a lot. angelo spoke about him very fondly because she remembers that when she first came to the school, she came a week before the school opened, to sort of get oriented with the people who were -- who she was staying with and she just remembers him smiling at her and being very courtly and proper which i think was, you know, a good reminded her of the south because it was just amazing to her when she went around to that teachers and she was calling him by their firstname and they were in jeans. she said i think maybe i made a
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horrible mistake. maybe my mother was right. [laughter] >> did the three maintain contact with the school or their classmates? did they have continuing involvement in the school? >> angela i think as to the reunion -- >> almost every year now she's done a pretty regularly. did she really? tom also comes to the reunions now and then. i feel that he has a sporadic touch with the school.
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elliott kept touch with the school until about the 1980's and then he just felt like, you know, the people -- his classmates had turned their back on him and so, yeah, he has not been back in a long time. and as a matter of fact, i forget -- in the mid nineties i think they published a m. anniversary narrative book and they submitted their memories and he actually said a very nice letter saying i remember the arts were fabulous and i just had wonderful experiences. i hope the old left pieties have departed. and i hit everything on the politics and i hope that's gone now. as, you know, as for everything else i loved it to the cause a tremendous uproar when it was published. people were just beside themselves and they wrote in
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high lee pingree terms triet and elliot has always been able to drive his classmates crazy and by extension the entire left wing community crazy and it is a role that he has relished. >> so in all of these years of research that you did for the book what was the sort of most surprising thing you found about them -- about one of the three characters, or what detail did you uncover that really kind of took you by surprise? >> oh, golly. let me come back to that. [laughter] ..

Book TV
CSPAN March 24, 2013 11:30pm-12:00am EDT

Dina Hampton Education. (2013) 'Little Red Three Passionate Lives Through the Sixties and Beyond.'

TOPIC FREQUENCY Greenwich 3, Angela Davis 3, Fbi 3, Elizabeth Irwin 3, Angela 3, Brown 2, California 2, Elizabeth Warren 2, Ronald Reagan 2, Elliott 2, Elliot 2, Elisabeth Irwin 2, Vietnam 1, Mr. Protagonist 1, Birmingham 1, Northern California 1, Lunchroom 1, Cuba 1, Brooklyn 1, America 1
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Duration 00:30:00
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on 3/25/2013